Russia transfers the US basketball player convicted of drug offenses into custody

Russia transfers the US basketball player convicted of drug offenses into custody
Russia transfers the US basketball player convicted of drug offenses into custody

Russia transfers the US basketball player convicted of drug offenses into custody

Lawyers for American basketball player Brittney Grainer said Thursday that Russian authorities have taken the Olympic star convicted of a drug case to a remote detention center to serve out his sentence.

Lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement: “Britney began serving her sentence in (IK2) in Mordovia.”

The letters “IK” stand for “penal settlement”, and this type of prison is the most common in Russia.

They added: “We visited them earlier this week. Brittney Grainer is doing well and trying to stay strong as she adjusts to a new environment.”

The American player was sentenced to nine years in prison in August at a Moscow airport for possessing electronic cigarette packs containing a small amount of cannabis oil.

The 32-year-old’s case comes amid intense tensions between Moscow and Washington over the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Brittney Grainer (AFP)

The IK2 penal settlement is located in the city of Javas in the Central Mordovia region, known for its harsh climate.

According to the Russian Federal Penitentiary, the settlement houses more than 800 female prisoners living in barracks.

Mordovia also includes the “AK-17” settlement, where Paul Whelan, a retired US Marine, is serving his sentence after being convicted of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.

His family says he was abused there and deprived of sleep.

Russian penal settlements are notorious for their harsh treatment of prisoners, unsanitary conditions and lack of care.

Activists say abuse and torture are rampant in Russia’s vast network of prisons, which replaced the Gulag system under Stalin.

Greiner pleaded guilty but said she had no intention of breaking the law or using the substance, which is banned in Russia.

Graner testified that she received permission from an American doctor to use medicinal cannabis oil to relieve the pain of her multiple injuries, and none of her drug tests came back positive.

The use of medical marijuana is not allowed in Russia.


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